-Autism occurs on a “Spectrum” from less Severe to More Severe. LOOK at TABLE: COMPARISON OF AUTISM, HFA, AS AND ASD/PDD NOS…The only variables are IQ and male to female ratio/age of onset… other characteristics merely change in degree. Therefore – everything that we talk about today is applicable to all students on the spectrum – just to greater and lesser degrees. For Example: Students with HFA/Asperger Syndrome still need schedules, structured teaching and visuals – but perhaps they will be written words instead of pictures and perhaps it can mean a file folder system or check list instead of an object schedule and independent work system. So, throughout the training – always be thinking “How can I take this concept and apply it to the student in my class.” On another note… these strategies are just good teaching techniques and would be effective for ALL students – not just students on the ASD – is effective for students with Emotional Disabilities, LD, etc… So don’t think that you need to only do this for the Autistic students in your class.
Chapter 10: Autism Spectrum Disorders
Based on: Special Education for Today’s Teachers: An Introduction,
by Rosenberg, Westling, and McLeskey (second edition)
Chapter 10 Questions
What are the prevalence rates for and causal
factors associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders?
How are Autism and Asperger’s disorder defined?
What are common characteristics of Autism?
How are students with Autism identified?
What educational practices are effective in
improving outcomes for students with Autism?
About 1 in 88 children according to the CDC.
Almost 5 times more common among boys.
Increase due to changes in diagnostic criteria,
awareness, parental age, and environment.
No Known Single Cause!
Parents or vaccines do not cause autism!
Environmental factors (parental age,
pregnancy, birth, toxins, etc.)?
Austism Spectrum Disorders
(e.g., Asperger Syndrome)
(For more info, see DSM-V Criteria.)
How Does Autism Vary?
Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
62% have average or above intelligence
83% have comorbid disorders (developmental,
psychiatric, neurologic, chromosomal, genetic).
About a third can sustain supported or partial
independence as adults.
IDEA Definition of Autism
• Significantly affects verbal and nonverbal
communication and social interaction
• Generally evident before age 3
• Adversely affects educational performance
• Other characteristics may include:
engagement in repetitive activities and
resistance to environmental change or change in
unusual responses to sensory experiences
New DSM V -Diagnostic Criteria*
Deficits in social
communication and social
(all 3 criteria)
patterns of behavior,
interests, or activities (2
of 4 criteria)
*DSM-5 criteria are more in line with IDEA criteria, than were the DSM-4 criteria.
(aka high-functioning autism)
Minimal impairment in language and cognition
High level of vocabulary, but very literal
Impaired social communication, self-centered
Difficulty with non-verbal communication
Inappropriate or minimal social interaction
Likes sameness, difficulty with change
Unusual preoccupations or rituals
Awkward movements, odd mannerisms
About 25% are non-verbal
Echolalia (repeating others’ words, “movie talk”)
Monotonous tone, unusual pitch and rhythm
Difficulty carrying on a conversation
Difficulty with non-verbal communication (e.g., body
language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact)
Limited social interaction
Reduced sharing of interests, emotions
Difficulty developing, maintaining and
Trouble regulating emotions or behavior
Poor or unusual play behavior
Repetitive movements--hand flapping, rocking
Excessive need for sameness, routines, rituals
Unusual fascination with certain objects, parts
of objects, topics, or activities
Failure to engage in imaginative play
Unusual Responses to
Highly sensitive/adverse reaction to certain
sounds, textures, tastes, smells, etc.
Insensitive/oblivious to some sensations
Crave certain movements or sensations such as
pressure, spinning, etc.
Difficulty filtering sensory input.
Identification of ASD
Multidisciplinary team (doctors, psychologist,
speech therapist, social worker, educator)
Assessment over time in multiple settings
Rating scales, diagnostic interviews, direct
observation of social and communicative behaviors
Most cases of autism diagnosed by age 4, but
Asperger’s may not be diagnosed until age 6.
Early intervention focusing on sensory issues,
communication, and social skills
Academic interventions for high-functioning
students similar to those for ADHD and LD.
Applied behavior analysis, discrete trials,
functional behavioral analysis
Social skills instruction (e.g., social stories,
cartooning, scripts, power cards)
For verbal students, speech therapy focusing
on pragmatics (social use of lang.)
For non-verbal students, communication
boards, PECS, electronic devices